Richard Smith CBE FMedSci is a British medical doctor, editor, and businessman.
He is director of the Ovations initiative to combat chronic disease in the developing world.The initiative is funding centres in China, Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Tunisia, Tanzania, South Africa, Central America, and the US Mexico border. He is also chairman of the board of directors of Patients Know Best.
Previously he was chief executive of UnitedHealth Europe, a subsidiary of the UnitedHealth Group that works with public health systems in Europe. Before that he was editor of the BMJ (previously the British Medical Journal), and chief executive of the BMJ Group. Smith worked for the BMJ for twenty-five years, from 1979 to 2004, the last thirteen as editor.
Smith is a proponent of open access publishing. He was editor of the BMJ when the journal first moved to online publishing, and made the journal's archives freely available. He sits on the board of directors of the Public Library of Science, an open access publisher of scientific and medical research. He was editor in chief of the open-access Cases Journal , which aimed to create a database of medical case reports.
He is an honorary professor at the University of Warwick and a member of the governing council of St George's, University of London.
He is a founding Fellows of the Academy of Medical Sciences, elected in 1998.
Having qualified in medicine in the University of Edinburgh, he worked in hospitals in Scotland and New Zealand before joining the BMJ. He also worked for six years as a television doctor with the BBC and TV-AMand has a degree in management science from the Stanford Graduate School of Business.
Smith is the author of the book The Trouble with Medical Journals (2006, ISBN 1-85315-673-6), in which he contends that medical journals have become "creatures of the drug industry", rife with fraudulent research and packed with articles ghost written by pharmaceutical companies. He has also written about the limitations and problems of the peer review process. In 2014, in an interview with New Scientist , he argued for criminalisation of research fraud.
His brother is comedian Arthur Smith.[ citation needed ]
In December 2014, Smith wrote on the BMJ blog that trying to find a cure for cancer was a waste of money, claiming that, "with love, morphine, and whisky", the disease is the best way to die.His remarks provoked outrage. The British Medical Journal said:
Smith’s New Year’s Eve blog on thebmj.com about cancer offering the best death garnered global media coverage and triggered a social media storm from thousands of bereaved relatives and the parents of children with cancer. He was accused of “glibly glossing over the pain” of cancer, to quote Michael Broderick, one of the 173 respondents on thebmj.com.
Smith responded and tried to clarify some of his points in a follow-up blog post on 5 January.
Quackery, often synonymous with health fraud, is the promotion of fraudulent or ignorant medical practices. A quack is a "fraudulent or ignorant pretender to medical skill" or "a person who pretends, professionally or publicly, to have skill, knowledge, qualification or credentials they do not possess; a charlatan or snake oil salesman". The term quack is a clipped form of the archaic term quacksalver, from Dutch: kwakzalver a "hawker of salve". In the Middle Ages the term quack meant "shouting". The quacksalvers sold their wares on the market shouting in a loud voice.
The Lancet is a weekly peer-reviewed general medical journal. It is among the world's oldest and best-known general medical journals. It was founded in 1823 by Thomas Wakley, an English surgeon who named it after the surgical instrument called a lancet (scalpel), as well as after the architectural term lancet window, a window with a sharp pointed arch, to indicate the "light of wisdom" or "to let in light".
The BMJ is a weekly peer-reviewed medical trade journal, published by the trade union the British Medical Association (BMA). The BMJ has editorial freedom from the BMA. It is one of the world's oldest general medical journals. Originally called the British Medical Journal, the title was officially shortened to BMJ in 1988, and then changed to The BMJ in 2014. The journal is published by BMJ Publishing Group Ltd, a subsidiary of the British Medical Association (BMA). The editor-in-chief of The BMJ is Fiona Godlee, who was appointed in February 2005.
The British Doctors' Study was a prospective cohort study which ran from 1951 to 2001, and in 1956 provided convincing statistical proof that tobacco smoking increased the risk of lung cancer.
The Burzynski Clinic is a controversial clinic offering an unproven cancer treatment. It was founded in 1976 and is located in Texas, United States. It is best known for the controversial "antineoplaston therapy" devised by the clinic's founder Stanislaw Burzynski in the 1970s. Antineoplaston is Burzynski's term for a group of urine-derived peptides, peptide derivatives, and mixtures that Burzynski named to use in his cancer treatment. There is no accepted scientific evidence of benefit from antineoplaston combinations for various diseases.
Sir William Richard Shaboe Doll was a British physician who became an epidemiologist in the mid-20th century and made important contributions to that discipline. He was a pioneer in research linking smoking to health problems. With Ernst Wynder, Bradford Hill and Evarts Graham, he was credited with being the first to prove that smoking caused lung cancer and increased the risk of heart disease. He also carried out pioneering work on the relationship between radiation and leukaemia as well as that between asbestos and lung cancer, and alcohol and breast cancer. On 28 June 2012 he was the subject of an episode of The New Elizabethans, a series broadcast on BBC Radio Four to mark the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II, dealing with 60 public figures from her reign.
Sir Richard Peto is an English statistician and epidemiologist who is Professor of Medical Statistics and Epidemiology at the University of Oxford, England.
Tobacco use has predominantly negative effects on human health and concern about health effects of tobacco has a long history. Research has focused primarily on cigarette tobacco smoking.
A chronic condition is a human health condition or disease that is persistent or otherwise long-lasting in its effects or a disease that comes with time. The term chronic is often applied when the course of the disease lasts for more than three months. Common chronic diseases include arthritis, asthma, cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, diabetes, Lyme disease, and some viral diseases such as hepatitis C and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome. An illness which is lifelong because it ends in death is a terminal illness. It is possible and not unexpected for an illness to change in definition from terminal to chronic. Diabetes and HIV for example were once terminal yet are now considered chronic due to the availability of insulin for diabetics and daily drug treatment for individuals with HIV which allow these individuals to live while managing symptoms.
Douglas Graham Altman FMedSci was an English statistician best known for his work on improving the reliability and reporting of medical research and for highly cited papers on statistical methodology. He was professor of statistics in medicine at the University of Oxford, founder and Director of Centre for Statistics in Medicine and Cancer Research UK Medical Statistics Group, and co-founder of the international Equator Network for health research reliability.
Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is an illness with a long history of controversy. For years, many professionals within the medical community did not recognize CFS as a true condition, nor was there agreement on its prevalence. There has been much disagreement over the pathophysiology of chronic fatigue syndrome, how it should be diagnosed, and how to treat it.
Andrew Jeremy Wakefield is a British former physician and academic who was struck off the medical register due to his involvement in the Lancet MMR autism fraud, a 1998 study that falsely claimed a link between the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine and autism. He has subsequently become known for anti-vaccination activism. Publicity around the 1998 study caused a sharp decline in vaccination uptake, leading to a number of outbreaks of measles around the world. He was a surgeon on the liver transplant programme at the Royal Free Hospital in London and became senior lecturer and honorary consultant in experimental gastroenterology at the Royal Free and University College School of Medicine. He resigned from his positions there in 2001, "by mutual agreement", then moved to the United States. In 2004, Wakefield began working at the Thoughtful House research center in Austin, Texas, serving as Executive Director there until February 2010, when he resigned in the wake of findings against him by the British General Medical Council.
Karol Sikora is a British physician specialising in oncology, who has been described as a leading world authority on cancer. He is a founder and medical director of Rutherford Health, a company providing proton therapy services, and Director of Medical Oncology at the Bahamas Cancer Centre.
The Lumleian Lectures are a series of annual lectures started in 1582 by the Royal College of Physicians of London and currently run by the Lumleian Trust. The name commemorates John Lumley, 1st Baron Lumley, who with Richard Caldwell of the College endowed the lectures, initially confined to surgery, but now on general medicine. William Harvey did not announce his work on the circulation of the blood in the Lumleian Lecture for 1616 although he had some partial notes on the heart and blood which led to the discovery of the circulation ten years later. By that time ambitious plans for a full anatomy course based on weekly lectures had been scaled back to a lecture three times a year.
Sir Simon Charles Wessely is a British psychiatrist. He is professor of psychological medicine at the Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London and head of its department of psychological medicine, vice dean for academic psychiatry, teaching and training at the Institute of Psychiatry, as well as Director of the King's Centre for Military Health Research. He is also honorary consultant psychiatrist at King's College Hospital and the Maudsley Hospital, as well as civilian consultant advisor in psychiatry to the British Army. He was knighted in the 2013 New Year Honours for services to military healthcare and to psychological medicine. From 2014 to 2017, he was the elected president of the Royal College of Psychiatrists.
A medical journal is a peer-reviewed scientific journal that communicates medical information to physicians and other health professionals. Journals that cover many medical specialties are sometimes called general medical journals.
Samiran Nundy is an Indian gastrointestinal surgeon, medical academic, writer and the former head of the department of gastrointestinal surgery at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi. He is a former member of the faculty at the Cambridge University, London University and Harvard University, and is the founder editor of the National Medical Journal of India and Tropical Gastroenterology. The Government of India awarded him the fourth highest Indian civilian honour of Padma Shri in 1985.
Geoffrey Victor Price Chamberlain was a professor and academic head of department of obstetrics and gynaecology at St George's Hospital, London, editor in chief of the British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology and president of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG). At one time, he was president of the obstetrics and gynaecology section at the Royal Society of Medicine. He also authored numerous textbooks and journal articles on obstetrics.
Horace Joules LRCP, MRCP, MRCS, FRCP was a British physician, health administrator and health campaigner, who played an important role in promoting public health and preventative medicine; particularly the link between cigarette smoking and lung cancer following the work of Richard Doll, Austin Bradford Hill, Ernst Wynder and Evarts Graham, and the adverse effects of air pollution.
The Lancet MMR autism fraud centred on the publication in 1998 of a research paper titled Ileal-lymphoid-nodular hyperplasia, non-specific colitis, and pervasive developmental disorder in children in The Lancet. The paper, authored by Andrew Wakefield and eleven coauthors, claimed to link the MMR vaccine to colitis and autism spectrum disorders. Events surrounding the research study and the publication of its findings led to Wakefield being struck off the medical register. The paper was retracted in 2010.